Tuesday, November 27, 2007

DeathTalker: Chapter 9

The next day, bright and early, the Council met again to discuss Anakin’s assassination. Yoda was so dreading the confrontation that he was actually glad when Mandor interrupted the proceedings. "Yes?" Mandor looked even more uncomfortable than normal. "It’s, well, the local law enforcement. Apparently, Mr. Skywalker’s body is, err, missing. They want to know if we took it." Yoda stared at the Jedi for a moment, then looked around the chamber. "No idea, have I." "I didn’t take it either." "Beats me." The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the council. With a resigned shrug, Mandor left the chamber. The announcement was strange enough that no one spoke for a bit. Then they got back to business. After a few minutes, however, the doors to the chamber opened once again. Yoda was about to complain about these constant interruptions, when he felt overwhelming sense of dread. Looking towards the doorway, he could see a robed and hooded figure, whose eyes seemed to shine in the darkness. Whoever it was walked in to the room, all the time staring directly at Yoda. The feeling of dread increased as he advanced. Yoda realized the Dark Side was very strong with this one. When it reached the center of the room, he stopped and regarded the council. "What business have you, with the Jedi Council?" After a pause, the figure spoke. "I believe I’ve found the elusive Sith Lord you have been searching for…" The figure drew back its hood, revealing himself. The council members gasped. Some of them drew their light sabers. "…and you have something I want." As the door to his office opened, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine looked up from this desk and raised an eyebrow. It was very rare that someone arrived without being announced, and nobody had ever gotten in without him knowing about it first. When he saw who it was, however, he jumped to his feet. "Anakin! The police said you had been killed! Thank the stars that you’re alright!" Anakin snorted and moved into the room, all the while glaring at Palpatine. As he advanced, the Supreme Chancellor felt the force become very strong around him; but there was something else. Exchanging glances with the Four, Palpatine exclaimed: "They were the ones Anakin – I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough." As Palpatine looked down, ashamed, the Four advanced upon Anakin. For himself, Anakin had stopped and was regarding the Four curiously. "You should have run while you had the chance…boy." The one closest to Anakin stopped. As if a storm were blowing the wind against him, he put his hands in front of him, trying to stop the onslaught. The force, however, seemed to intensify, and what’s more, he seemed to be disintegrating. As if he were made of dust, pieces of him were flying off in the direction the "wind" was blowing. With a howl, he was blasted into nothingness. The other three retreated to Palpatine’s side. Palpatine’s face registered shock, then, after a moment, joy. "You’ve done it! Somehow, you are able to stop them! Together we will can bring justice to the Republic without all of the sacrifices I’ve been forced to make!" Anakin glared at the Chancellor, and then smirked. "I know the truth Palpatine. I know what you’ve been doing; what you’ve been doing to the dead. This madness ends here." Palpatine’s face was blank for a moment, then contorted into a mask of anger. "Then you should have known, no matter what you can do with the dead, your powers among the living are no match for mine." The Sith Lord’s light saber appeared in his hand, its red glow casting a hellish light on his features. "Oh, I didn’t say that I was going to do anything." Eight Jedi masters entered the room, their light sabers alight. The Supreme Chancellor glared at his hated enemies. But he looked far from defeated. "Actually, while these fools, feeble though their skills are, would normally be able to stop even me, you cannot stand against me and all of my forces!" From behind Palpatine, others materialized. Most were humanoid, but some were obviously aliens. All of them resembled the Four in their parlor. There must have been at least 20 among them and more seemed to be arriving. Anakin nodded and raised his hands. From behind him, a light shore, and through it came the ranks of the dead Jedi. At once, the shades of the Jedi and the Sith engaged each other in a ghostly battle that only Anakin and Palpatine could see. For his part, Anakin regarded the Supreme Chancellor with a look of intense concentration, while Papatine’s face twisted into a look of rage. All at once, Palpatine leapt from behind his desk to try and cut down his target. He was intercepted by Mace Windu, and quickly engaged by the rest of the living Jedi. On both the physical and ethereal planes, battles raged. Anakin’s face was expressionless. His hands still raised, he slowly brought them together in a closing gesture. Nothing seemed to happen in the Chancellor’s office, but the effect on the spirits was profound. Like the fallen member of Palpatine’s Four, it seemed that a great wind was pulling at the Sith and Jedi spirits around them. Like the previous force, it was causing the spirits about them to disintegrate; but unlike the previous wind, it seemed to have a destination. The substance of the spirits seemed to be forming a kind of whirlpool or vortex. And they became less and less substantial, the vortex gained strength. As it gained strength, the force of the wind tearing at the ghosts became greater. Two of the Four seemed to realize what was going on, and promptly vanished. The others were not so fortunate and were sucked howling into the storm. Palpatine, when he realized what Anakin was doing, killed one of the Jedi facing him and immediately jumped towards him. "Damn you! Noooo!" The Sith struck Anakin with his light saber, cutting him from shoulder to hip. This left him open to attacks from the Jedi, however, and Mace ran him through with his own, purple blade. As the would-be emperor lay dying he looked up to where Anakin was standing on the spirit plane. "Why?" Once his last words were whispered, the spirit of the Supreme Chancellor was sucked into the maelstrom with the rest of the dead. Anakin, however, did not seem to be drawn into the vortex. His spirit form held the same stance and attitude that his body had adopted when Palpatine’s light saber vivisected him. The storm seemed to have reached some critical point. In as much as its position could correspond to physical landmarks, it moved into the sky. As it did so, it seemed that more spirits were being drawn into its maw. Once it had drifted far enough away, Anakin’s ghost relaxed a bit. Looking down at his body, Anakin made a raising gesture with his hands. His body stood and reassembled itself. The surviving Jedi, who had been joined by Yoda, regarded this with alarm: they had not witnessed the ghost battle, and had only sensed that something important, something terrible had happened. Those Jedi who were capable raised their light sabers and surrounded Anakin. Glancing about him in a wild and most un-Yoda-like manner, the green alien confronted Anakin. "What have you done?" Anakin opened his eyes and exhaled. In the space where normal, physical eyes would be, a bright, white light was shining. His face turned in Yoda’s direction. The alien could not tell if Anakin was concerned, remorseful or tense, but the boy was feeling something. "I am bringing balance to the Force." "What is happening?!!" "A new balance is being struck. Palpatine had been…manipulating forces. The disturbance you feel is the result." Despite the fact that the changes occurring had no physical manifestation, all the force sensitives in the room, or anywhere on Coruscant for that matter, could feel the pull of the storm. While it made no physical sound, they could faintly hear the winds howling and the screams, laughs, groans and other ululations the dead made as they were drawn into the vortex. Despite the lack of sound, Yoda was shouting. "Not telling us all, are you!" "No. I am not." Anakin gazed at Yoda. The man’s eyes seemed to lose their glowing, star-like quality as time passed. Breaking the contact, Anakin turned towards the door. Mace barred his way. "You are not leaving!" Anakin regarded him coolly. His voice soft in comparison to the harsh sound of Mace’s voice. "You saw what Dark Sidious did to me. You know what happened to me before that. Even if you completely destroy my physical form, I will return and continue my work." Anakin glanced about the room. "I can do this with or without your interference, but if you try to stop me, it will mean the end of the Jedi order." "If we let him leave, he will only become stronger!" Yoda shook his head. "Already, strong enough he is, to defeat us." Mace glanced back at Anakin and did a double take. The boy was no longer standing in front of him. In fact, he was no where to be seen. The Jedi Master lowered his light saber and extinguished it. Previous Chapter, Table of Contents

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